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Wandong art versus potholes

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Mitchell Shire’s proposed public artwork project in Wandong has triggered a lot of community response and judging by comments on social media not all residents are in favour of the idea.

The yet to be determined artwork will be displayed on land adjacent to the Wandong station car park opposite the medical centre.The area presently has a rotunda and recreational seating.

The project was proposed to Council by the Wandong/Heathcote Junction Community Group (WHJCG) to replace a sculpture removed from the area following its deterioration.

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An application has been made to the Tiny Towns Fund for a grant to fund the project and if successful funding will be announced in May. It is believed that Council has around $20,000 in its Community Arts Fund for similar projects.

A comment on the Wandong Community page said that while the author was not having a “dig” at the community group who always try to improve the town, there was a need to get priorities in place.

“I like and appreciate art just as much as the next person… but when there are so many more things Council should be doing but aren’t, this annoys me. Let’s get the basics right first” the author wrote.

Council has mailed a survey paper to Wandong Heathcote Junction households seeking feedback on the project and this too has triggered an active online response.

“More of our rates money wasted and council think there green? With wasted paper and ink being mailed out everywhere. Mine went straight in the bin,” Steve Spiteri wrote.

Andrea Watts agreed, saying “I ccouldn’t agree more, we need better roads and art shouldn’t be taking priority over our safety on the roads.”

“I love art. I appreciate the skill and talent needed and the joy and emotion it can bring. But I would love to see all the potholes fixed professionally that will last…..That would be art,”  Pauline Bittles wrote.

Narelle Smith said that the project “pprovided re-assurance” how out of touch Council is with priorities. So many more pressing matters than a survey about art.

In an attempt to calm the debate WHJCG member, Karen Christensen, said that Council would not be paying for the project.

“It won’t be ratepayers’ money rather there is a Tiny Towns grant available that they will apply for, even though this is a replacement of a council asset not a “new” artwork. You can always contact the community group who are always happy to answer questions regarding any of the projects that they undertake,” Ms Christiansen wrote.

An online survey is also available in addition to the questionnaire that was mailed to residents.

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